State of the Savage: Summer 2021
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
1y ago
Long time no see. A year has passed since my last post and hardly even a peep from me. Thank you to those readers who prompted me to share any updates I might have. I have little to share on the travel front. COVID continues its dominion and makes painfully obvious our divisions and weaknesses, so, despite being fully vaccinated (please get vaccinated), I haven’t even considered traveling abroad. But I have been going places. These past few years have felt like a chrysalis. They have been a period of traveling inward after so long searching outward in the world. There’s a perfect geometry to t ..read more
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State of the Savage: Summer 2020
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
2y ago
Three months have passed since my last post here. It is an unusual time both personally and globally. We in the United States remain in the grip of a pandemic that threatens all our lives and renders travel a laughable afterthought. At this time, even if I wanted to travel, I can’t visit Scotland. The pandemic has made my social world nonexistent, a function that by the same degree opens the inner world. I spent June intensely recovering from a surgery and July and August recovering at a more relaxed pace. I work remotely from home now and for the foreseeable future, looking out the window at ..read more
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Picture This: Ostel Bay’s Bright Unfolding
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
2y ago
Finally, when at last Cowal’s knotted roads gave up the thread to Ostel Bay, father and daughter stood in a new year’s bright unfolding. On the beach where the sea had receded toward distant peaks and fleeting masterpieces, where light and shadow swooped and swallowed like swifts on summer wings, staring at a trawler bridging nesses of untruths. The body is a lie. Every word and sensation a falsehood — not in a moralistic sense, in the sense that symbols and experience are sieved through subjective perception. The truth is neither spoken nor heard, never tasted or smelled or felt upon the ski ..read more
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The Caterthuns: Hillforts of the Iron-Age Picts
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
2y ago
Scotland is the kind of place where it’s just as easy to travel geographically across the map as it is to find those doorways leading down corridors of times long past. On countless occasions I’ve tramped along coasts and over hills to find the mouldering stones and camouflaged earthworks of ancient monuments (according to the classically understated signage). It’s difficult to convey what a distinct and exotic pleasure this is for an American like me, whose homeland’s ancient history was methodically erased or churned under the grinding wheels of imperialism. I recognize this kind of accessib ..read more
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Picture This: A Long, Bright View
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
3y ago
I came to Argyll gray but enlightened, unsung but full-souled, for once — no, for twice, for as the circle bends to its origin so, too, had I returned to the luminous terminal of self-truth. Just weeks before this journey to Argyll, Bute, Cowal, and Kintyre, another journey had ended: One decades-long thrash through fog and blindness and the eroding belief that everything was fine. There was a moment of clarity, somehow, on my office floor, on that mountainside, alone, with Hela. There came knowledge like a bright lance thrust through scars, and I wept from my clear eye. Such symmetry in Glen ..read more
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State of the Savage: Spring 2020
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
3y ago
Oh to be on an island of health, wealth, and splendor, a world away from this pandemic. This year has suddenly become incredibly trying on so many levels: Emotional, financial, mental. I doubt any of us will come through this ordeal unscathed, at the very least adjacently, or forget this time of global house arrest. We’re losing a lot of people unjustly and unfairly, and my heart goes out to the affected and the to-be affected. There’s no use in spinning loss. It just has to be faced, felt, and folded in. When times become dark, the wise don’t sit in the gloom. This is not the message from mas ..read more
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Lifting the Velvet Rope at Ballindalloch Distillery
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
3y ago
Opening a single malt whisky distillery is a daunting prospect in any country. Opening one in the 21st Century in the heart of Scotland, in venerable Speyside, arguably the most famous and crowded whisky-producing region in the world, is akin to taking up mountain climbing by taking on Mount Everest. This is the prologue for Ballindalloch Distillery, a newish venture of the MacPherson-Grant family who also call Ballindalloch Castle home. Situated across the River Avon from the aforementioned castle along the A95 and a short ramble from both Cragganmore distillery and Glenfarclas distillery, Ba ..read more
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A Dear Green Place: The Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
3y ago
One of my favorite activities upon landing in Scotland (or anywhere, really) is to get out and do something that’s free, doesn’t require a booking, and involves green spaces. That first day is always a struggle with jet-lag and tiredness from the scads of logistics navigating to a different corner of the world — who needs another appointment? You’re spoiled for choice in Glasgow’s West End between magnificent Kelvingrove Park and the Botanic Gardens, the subject of this post. Kelvingrove is big and obvious and the site of most of my initial ramblings whenever I’d visit Glasgow, but on my most ..read more
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Picture This: West on Silver Water
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
3y ago
Across the Firth of Clyde, west on silver water, the Isle of Bute abides October’s mismatched blue and green eyes. I have come to see again, as Scotland has always been generous to me in its gifts of clarity and perspective. Such charity reflected in that hammered sea of sky and the tripartite monoliths bereft of trapping or circumstance in this lonely field across the road from my croft. Oh that Nordic air hung with the sea’s breath is ripe here and gathering on every blade and tassel like that pregnant moment before speech. Speak to me, please speak to me. But what I seek is the conveyance ..read more
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Cawdor Castle, Seat of the Thanes of Cawdor
Traveling Savage
by Aelyth Savage
3y ago
It seems that everyone and their great granny has heard of Inverness. I remember speaking the name for the first time and thinking it had a certain magic to its enunciation. I was so beguiled by it that my first, somewhat disastrous, trip to Europe in 2003 included a stop in Scotland’s northernmost city, and I’ve been back many times in the ensuing 17 years. The plain reality, however, is that Inverness just isn’t that interesting. And while that statement is bound to stir the pot, allow me to counter by saying that the area around Inverness, on the other hand, is rich with interesting and var ..read more
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